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Hillary's Five Problems

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 19/02/2016 Bob Burnett

Since April, when Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy, I've expected her to be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee. Only recently, given the strong showing of Bernie Sanders, have I doubted she might prevail. Meanwhile, the fierce competition for the Democratic nomination has revealed five problems with Hillary's campaign.
1. There's not a compelling narrative. I assume that Secretary Clinton is superbly qualified to be President and believe it would be a good thing for a woman to be elected to the oval office. Nonetheless, I've been disappointed in her campaign, particularly in the absence of a compelling narrative explaining why she should be elected. At the conclusion of the January 17th debate, Clinton offered, "I want to be a president who takes care of the big problems and the problems that are affecting the people of our country everyday."
This marshmallow statement contrasts with Sanders solid stance: "This campaign is about is creating a process for a political revolution... bringing tens of millions of people together to demand that we have a government that represents all of us."
It's a contrast in "elevator speeches." Bernie Sanders gets on board an elevator, introduces himself to a voter, and says, "I'm running for president to fix a broken system; to give power back to the people." Sanders leaves and Hillary Clinton gets on board, introduces herself, and says, what? "Vote for me because I' m the most qualified candidate." "I'd be for the first women president." ???
As was the case in 2008, Clinton doesn't have a compelling elevator speech.
If Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, she's going to have to convince independent voters. (She has no chance to convert Republicans.) She'll have to develop a compelling narrative.
2. Voters are angry and Hillary doesn't seem to get it. If everything in America was terrific, if everyone was happy, then Hillary Clinton would be the odds-on favorite to win the presidency (if she wins the Democratic nomination). But that's not the case.
64 percent of voters feel that America is on the wrong track. There's no agreement on whose fault this is: 84 percent of Democrats approve of the job Obama is doing, 86 percent of Republicans disapprove, and Independents aren't sure -- 42 percent approve of Obama and 44 percent disapprove.
Therefore, while Hillary Clinton may win the Democratic nomination by wrapping herself in the Obama administration this strategy won't work in the general election. In fact, most voters prefer an outsider candidate: Sander, Trump, or Cruz.
3. Voters don't find Hillary authentic. One of the reasons that Bernie Sanders did better than expected in Iowa and won New Hampshire is that those voters found him to be more compelling than Hillary Clinton in small gatherings. He appeared to be more authentic.
For the record, I've met Clinton and she seemed a smart, energetic, nice person. However, The New York Times reported that among New Hampshire voters who cared about honesty and trustworthiness, "91 percent chose Sanders and only 5 percent chose Hillary Clinton."
4. Voters believe that Hillary Clinton got money from Wall Street to defend the interests of the one percent. Clinton has admitted that she received $675,000 from Wall Street speaking engagements. Given that most voters view Wall Street unfavorably and coupled with the fact that Clinton is seen as untrustworthy, this is a problem for Independent voters.
5. Secretary Clinton has a unique set of characteristics that Donald Trump can take advantage of. If Trump is the Republican nominee, he will no doubt wage a campaign against Clinton that's similar to the campaigns he's used to bring down his Republican opponents (Bush, Cruz, and Rubio). He will be negative and dramatically inaccurate.
Trump will accuse Clinton of being part of the Washington establishment. He will say that she is beholden to special interests, particularly Wall Street, and relied upon lobbyist and Super PAC money to get where she is. Trump will claim he is the only outsider in the race and, therefore, he is the "change" candidate,
Trump will claim President Obama's Administration has been a disaster. He will say Obama has divided Americans, made the military weaker, and burdened us with an inefficient healthcare system. Trump will claim that Hillary Clinton is running as Obama's third term and America cannot afford that. He will repeat his main claim, "America is losing, I can make it great again."
While Trump will claim that America is losing to China, he will focus on the situation in the Middle East. Trump will note that Hillary Clinton voted to go to war in Iraq and claim this vote led to the present disaster in the Middle East. He will say she supported the treaty with Iran, which he sees as a disaster. He will claim Clinton made us less safe, which he will do something about by building his infamous wall.
Trump will wage an unrelenting, unapologetic negative war on Hillary Clinton.
The question is whether Hillary, who over the years has demonstrated her toughness, is tough enough to bring down Trump.

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